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nothing to write about


willie the wimp

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so i've been working on writning a bunch of stuff over the summer and haven't finished any of it really. i have 10 or 12 songs that i think are good enough no finish and am now in a songwriting rut. i have nothing to base these songs on i have no idea which direction i want to take them i don't know what to do. it's like i have no want to finish them but i do. i just don't know what to do and it's really bothering me. i have no purpose for these songs even though i really want to get them done. just to prove to myself i can actually write if not anything else.

what do you guys reccomend i do to get myself out of this rut and back to a place where i enjoy writing and feel good about it?

should i ditch the songs, should i stop writing for a while, should i plow through and finish the songs even though i wouldn't feel right about them.

my problem is both musical and lyrical, but mainly lyrical. it's like i'm out of stuff to write about without getting repetative or even worse meaninggless to me. i realize that nothing can help more than life experiences and that stuff but i'm young, and it's hard for me to put myself in a place where it becomes a story not a confession if you get what i mean.

any help is greatly welcome

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Without getting repetitive?

 

Brother, there's only about 7 basic songs, you know, like plot lines.

 

My advice: don't worry; write.

 

And don't throw anything away unless there is literally nothing whatsoever salvageable. I'll save bits that have only the hint of a glimmer of an idea and come back to them later -- or find them popping back up on their own.

 

On the should you plow through and complete them -- I say, sure, with the proviso that you allow yourself to change/fix them later. I have 30 year old songs I'm still tweaking this way or that, or rearranging the chords to (when I can, uh, remember them :D ). Songs I've recorded and had posted for years that have had thousands of downloads get tinkered and reworked.

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Without getting repetitive?

My advice: don't worry; write.

 

 

+1

 

To paraphrase that guy from the Goo Goo Dolls, the funny thing about writer's block is that you're writing the whole time; you just think everything sucks.

 

Sounds like you've got all these ideas, but you're getting in your own way wondering whether or not they're good enough. They probably are. You may just need to spend some time away from it for a while and let the ideas incubate, and come back to them later with a fresh perspective. Often, the best solutions come when you aren't thinking about it so hard. Don't rush things. Be patient and it'll come eventually.

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What about that time you hitchhiked to New Orleans when you were 16 and the only place you could get a bed was that girls orphanage?

 

That wasn't you??

 

Seriously make {censored} up. Make up a story. Most writing isn't true. If your a writer you should be good at fantasizing and imaging things. Write something about something you know nothing about. People do it all the time and some of the greatest songs ever were written that way.

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i agree, and it's not like i haven't done it before infact thats what i'm doing right now. i'm just writing a story instead of a lyric and if i like the story i'll base some lyrics on it. my problem is settling out. but i still have no idea what to do about the songs i have half written. my problem is that i'll write a few parts of a song all at once. record the idea and then never look at it agian and just go onto another song and repeat. i'm thinking i shouldn't write new stuff untill i get rid of this backlog. is that smart or is it throwing away good ideas?

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Wow. That last discription hits close to home. Get out a few versus and maybe a chorus, record it or not, then forget it. Left to wither on the vine.

 

You also used the word "purpose" in the first post (I believe). So you write from the inspiration, get the feeling or thoughts out, at least to some degree, but it doesn't end as a completed song! Just parts. And now the vibe has left, the urge to express has been satisified, and what to do with the pieces now, days, weeks, even months later? Do I have that right?

 

I've been playing at this problem for awhile. It's very unsatisfying! I can tell you what I'm doing (as of 3 days ago, that is, so if you'd like a grain of salt, cool).

 

I'm spending a lot more time with my guitar. Just playing and trying New Things. So that's one.

 

As for the abandoned tunes, I'm gonna get the feelings back. Re-member the circumstance. Feelings, thoughts, the environment, just trip around the old neighborhood.

 

Of course, these plans are newly put into action, so I can't tell you how tremendously well the outcome is already assumed. But since I'm working my way through what seems to be a similar situation as you, I thought I say what I'm up to.

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hey thanks man. yea it sounds like we have the same problem, you just describe it better. i think i'm really gonna try to get the feeling of my songs back into me when i try to write. like you said, you get all the original feeling out and then don't feel the urge to continue with that piece. we'll have to see how this goes

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i agree, and it's not like i haven't done it before infact thats what i'm doing right now. i'm just writing a story instead of a lyric and if i like the story i'll base some lyrics on it. my problem is settling out. but i still have no idea what to do about the songs i have half written. my problem is that i'll write a few parts of a song all at once. record the idea and then never look at it agian and just go onto another song and repeat. i'm thinking i shouldn't write new stuff untill i get rid of this backlog. is that smart or is it throwing away good ideas?

 

I know some proffessional songwriters who discard 80% or 90% of what they write. Most (myself included) will take those ideas to another musician or writer you feel comfortable with and do a bit of collaberation when they can't polish something off.

 

In any case I wouldn't stop working on new stuff. Never intentionally close off an avenue of creativity. You might write a hit tommorow :)

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learn someone else's songs. learn how to effectively play your five favorite beatles tunes, or anything that you find interesting. not enough can be said for stimulating your own creativity by simply working on others' material.

 

here's some tunes i've worked on when in ruts:

'god only knows' - beach boys

'yesterday' - beatles

'philosophy' - ben folds

'norwegian wood' - beatles

'sexx laws' - beck

'don't change your plans' - ben folds

'hey-ya' - outkast (yes....seriously...it's a great hook off of such a great theory mechanism.)

 

and then there's jazz tunes................too many to list. play with 'moody's mood'

 

peace and good luck

g

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yea, i find that too. when i am learning a song it usually gets me nice and creative. latley i haven't been making much of an effort to learn new stuff but one song i am working on is boots of spanish leather-dylan. i am introducing myself to an enirly new aproach to guitar by learning this and a few classical songs. i have never serouily done any figer picking before and it is really not coming easily to me but i think in a few months when i get comterable with that (not good but comfterable) i will be able to take different aroaches to writing. right now though, i am into alot of indie lable stuff and i can't find any music for some of the songs i'd like to play. so if anyone knows how to play irene wilde by alejandro escovedo please let me know!!

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I have the same problem

other than trying to make something up I like to be honest in everything I write. When you get blocked try going for a walk and just clear your thoughts. It gets ideas running and i've come up with alot of good stuff from methods like this. Just keep yourself motivated and get into the mood of what you want your song to feel like.

 

sometimes i'll get down a bunch of lyrics in one night

other times Im stumped forever

good luck

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hey thanks man. yea it sounds like we have the same problem, you just describe it better. i think i'm really gonna try to get the feeling of my songs back into me when i try to write. like you said, you get all the original feeling out and then don't feel the urge to continue with that piece. we'll have to see how this goes

 

 

Here's a good way of looking at it that might make the task of completing a song seem less overwhelming. The majority of songs are very short. The average song has only three parts: two verses and a chorus. Once you do that, you're done! (Yeah, some songs have bridges, but those are optional. If you can do more with less parts, all the better.)

 

The second verse is usually the hardest part, but the best place to start is to say, "What can I say that I haven't already said in the rest of the song?". Sometimes there's a little twist or elaboration you haven't covered yet that can really give another angle to the story. And that's the stuff you can use for your second verse.

 

And if you still can't manage that, then just do what my bandleader sometimes does; he doesn't bother to write a second verse at all! He just repeats the same verse twice! Usually, I don't even notice this unless he tells me. I wouldn't recommend making a habit of this, but occasionally, it can pull you out of a jam.

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Whatever you do... don't write about not being able to write. I hate that.

 

"This blank page is a prison..."

 

"As I write these words..."

 

Etc. It's alway such a hack thing to hear. Make up {censored} is a good idea.

 

I went to dump her and right before that she dumps me

 

I went traveling, got lost, and found the strangest town

 

I man showed up today on my doorstep with a gun

 

I turned on the news last night and Jesus was the anchor!

 

I shared a beer with Buddha yesterday

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Read. Read fiction and read poetry.

Or evena biography.

 

 

 

Yep.

 

And the main difference between writing about yourself or about others is the perspective. Perspective as in He instead of I. And since it's not you, the door opens to many possiblities. So now it's:

 

 

Sad Sam opens the door on the third knock

Surprised to see a badge with his gun cocked

Badge says "It's time to go Sam, the law is beckoning...

 

This is your dark day of reckoning"

 

 

Instead of I opened the door...

 

Give the he's and hims creative names. Listen to Tom Waits. Play with tense. Past, present? Try it both ways. I did above. It started and finished as past and I changed it to present and re-wrote. More like a movie happening. Sometimes telling a tale (past) is better too. Play with that.

 

Make a setup in your mind. Something loaded. Like the gun above. Or a car accident about to happen. Write about the 5 minutes before a guy sticks up a 7-11 and what's going through his mind. Write about the thoughts of a father driving to the airport to pick up his son returning from Iraq. Describe his tears, joy, and anger all mixed up.

 

Write about the jealousy an older brother has for his perfect little sister. And now guests are over doting on her. But he knows something about her the others don't...

 

The parents, the neighbors think she's perfect

Little do they know

But he knows, he knows, he knows where her mind goes...

 

Make situations up that have tension....

 

 

...and need to be released. Just create the ticking timebomb first. The explosion will almost write itself.

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I have the same problem

other than trying to make something up I like to be honest in everything I write.


 

But think of the fun making {censored} up. God didn't really tell Abraham to go kill his son on Highway 61. :thu: It's the use of story to say something more than the words do alone.

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